Should You Take a Prep Class?

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Pros Cons
Inexpensive when compared to post-grad salary No revolutionary test-taking secrets
Time-saving Good self-preparation materials are available
Professional assistance Cost

When looking into taking a test prep class, you have a couple of options. In the United States, Kaplan and The Princeton Review are well-known companies. In Europe, there are a few more choices. The most prestigious option is Manhattan Review, which offers courses in London and continental Europe including Germany and Spain. There is also ClubIvy in Madrid. Over the recent years, those companies also started to offer online courses. Some of them only provide canned recorded lessons while others offer both real-time online instructions and recorded lessons. When you shop around, look for those good and proven online technology platforms since transmission speed and voice crispness may have a big impact on your learning experience!

Test prep classes can be an effective, efficient method of getting ready for your exam. As competition for top business school admissions increases, more people are turning to professionals to ensure that they are prepared for the test. Read the following breakdown of the pros and cons of attending a prep class. If you do decide to attend a class, be sure to read our page on how to get the most out of your course!

The Pros of Attending a Prep Class:

  • Test prep classes are an incredible bargain - When you compare the cost of the test prep class with the extra amount of money you'll earn by graduating from a top business school, you'll realize that the cost of the classes is really a drop in the bucket. Average starting compensation at the top 5 business schools is over $100,000 (courtesy of U.S. News & World Report). However, for graduates of the next tiers, compensation falls dramatically. In fact, most of the schools in the top 50 sport compensation in the $60,000-$80,000 range.
  • You're looking at up to a $40,000 difference in compensation in just your first year out of school! Furthermore, the gap in salary actually increases after that! When you look at it in this light, you'll see the courses aren't as expensive as they seem.
  • Some test prep courses are so efficient that while you do still have to shell out a bit of cash, you don’t have to spend hours every week in the classroom. Some of the top test prep companies offer weekend courses that prepare you just as well, if not better, than the traditional courses, which are spread over many weeks. Look into a weekend course if you’re interested in saving time and money, while ensuring your future success.
  • Guidance - One of the most important reasons to take a class is that you'll have an instructor to show you how to prepare with the right study habits. This will be extremely important if you've always been one of those people who struggled in any particular area. For example, if algebra has always given you nightmares, having someone there to help you can be priceless. Taking a course can give you the self-confidence you need to not get discouraged during your preparations. And that will help you to shine on exam day!
  • Also, self-studying a particular area of the test might not be feasible for you especially if you've struggled with either quantitative or qualitative problems in the past. It is important to make sure that the person who guides you is a professional academic. Learning from the best ensures that you will prepare the best.
  • Motivation - Taking the GMAT is difficult. Having someone to start you off on the right foot and guide you though your preparation can make all the difference on the test day. Having someone to turn to, who will answer your queries will surely keep you from getting discouraged along the way.
  • Everyone studying for the GMAT wants to go to a top business school. And the fact is, very few will achieve this goal. Are you willing to let another candidate for admissions get a head-start on you? When your decision letter comes in the mail, having that extra study-boost could mean the difference between admission and rejection.

The Cons of Attending a Prep Class:

  • Will they reveal top-secret techniques? Not all claims made by test prep companies should be believed. Pay close attention because what we’re about to tell you will make some people at the test prep companies very mad. The techniques that you will learn from Kaplan and the Princeton Review's test prep classes are really not much different from what you can get by buying the test companies' $35 book. Virtually all of their "secret techniques" are revealed in these books and even though the classes might go more into depth in certain areas, there is very little new earth-shattering material. So, if your reason for taking a class is to get access to testing tips that no one else can get, you're probably doing it for the wrong reason.
  • Cost – Make sure that any course you decide to take provides you with all the practice materials you will need. Some don't provide you with everything. You could be looking at well over $200 in expenses in addition to the prep class. Just make sure that you select the right course so you won’t have to shell out additional cash for things they don't provide.

In a perfect world, you would be able to afford all the materials and the prep class. However, we understand the budget constraints of most people studying for the GMAT. Heck, that's why we designed this site!

Did you make up your mind yet?

If you've decided to take a prep class, be sure to check out our advice for how to choose a prep course. Also, make sure to come back to our site. There's a lot of stuff on this site which will augment the benefits you get in your classes. Look forward to as the one thing you won't have to pay for! 

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